Peter M Howard ::

Crises of faith

16Aug2007 [myth]

In which I put an end to the crises of small-f faith, and realise that, being in the right environment, my Faith doesn’t waver anymore

Cee-Lo's 'Sometimes', The Collection

Sometimes faith is not knowing any better.

By the end of mass last Sunday I had what I would have once identified as a crisis of faith. By the time I'd walked home, I'd rationalised it away, and it occurred to me: I no longer have crises of faith. That is, not of faith in God, or in the Church. Instead, I'm only saddened at certain people (or wonder at their own faith). This is, actually, a big deal. For years, whenever I struggled with something — whether a point of faith or doctrine, or a particular interpretation I was being presented with (particularly back at school) — I'd identify that as a problem with my own faith. It's taken me an awfully long time, and really getting away from certain environments, to have confidence in my own faith. And to realise that I've no problems with the Church, despite what some of Her people may say.

There are two regular priests saying masses at the cathedral. Both are young guys. But their styles are remarkably different. One is delightful, patient, always happy. His sermons are simple and beautiful, and most importantly, easy to relate to. They're about life, about living in the world. The other guy is— almost the opposite. Not yelling or anything, but I always get the sense that he's railing against the world. Whatever he's talking about, the evils of the outside world always come up. And he lectures. His sermons get repetitive, long, and a little unpleasant. One of those led to last Sunday's little crisis, and I don't even remember what he was trying to say.

I find myself in environments like this altogether too often. There's a certain romanticism in talking about ourselves as the Remnant, in painting ourselves as outsiders. But it too often becomes negative, oppressive. It becomes a bunch of scared people escaping from the world, retreating to "faith" because they don't know any better.

And I've had enough. I have my Faith. In God, and His Church. I've no doubts about that. The trick's going to be finding the right environment — somewhere I can avoid these little crises.

Faith, Hope, and Love. These are God's greatest gifts.

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